The Forge of God by Greg Bear (1987)

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I've read many post-apocalyptic stories, but this is the first pre-apocalyptic book I've encountered! And its a good un.
Written in 1987 and set in the mid 90s, after Jupiter's moon Europa disappears a strange object appears in the American desert resembling a cinder cone, and next to it is found a strange dying alien, The alien speaks English and has a message for Earth: "I'm afraid I have bad news".
Later a second cone is found in Australia but this time mechanical beings, robots, appear around it but these seem to be benevolent. While in the US the scientists are getting worried, those in Australia believe the aliens are our allies. Later, people encounter strange small robots; at first they fear them but it seems these 'spiders' are recruiting certain people on Earth for some purpose. These 'possessed' people receive messages from a network direct to their consciousness- a kind of direct internet.
Meanwhile a cult of 'Forge of Godders' springs up, setting up vigils next to the cinder cones, rather like druids attending Stonehenge.
No-one is really sure of the aliens intent until it is too late...

This is hard SF but its very reader friendly; there's no scientific preaching or technobabble, and despite being over 450 pages the story flows really well. So much so I'd have to say this is the best Greg Bear book I've read so far!
 

Rodders

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This is one of my favourite books. I loved the ending. (So much so, I had a dream about it when I finished it for the first time.)
 

J-Sun

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I like both but agree that the first is definitely the better one despite the second being more my kind of thing in the abstract. As I said elsewhere, there's a lot of stuff you have to gloss over but it still has a lot going for it. The first one's really good, from my perspective in that it's not my kind of thing but still seemed really good.
 

AE35Unit

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I like both but agree that the first is definitely the better one despite the second being more my kind of thing in the abstract. As I said elsewhere, there's a lot of stuff you have to gloss over but it still has a lot going for it. The first one's really good, from my perspective in that it's not my kind of thing but still seemed really good.
I may not finish the sequel. Just so tedious and one dimensional. And the characters are soon annoying!
 

J-Sun

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Well, that'd probably be the way to go, then - if you're well into it I don't think it does anything miraculously different that'd make you change your mind, though I wouldn't quit after the first few pages or anything. (I mean, I can hardly ever quit a book but talking in theory here.) Many of the characters are annoying but I think that's by design. My only real problem with the characters was that, while I didn't find the protagonist annoying, he was miscast as a lead. But there's a couple others you want to smack. :)

The characters are much better in The Forge of God, though.
 

Rodders

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I enjoyed Anvil Of Stars as well. Sure, it's not as good as The Forge Of God, but it does ask some interesting Morality questions in my opinion.
 
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